Music | Review

Review: Callaway sisters get groovy for 'Boom!'

“Boom! Live at Birdland” (Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway, PS Classics) – “Boom!” is one of those great CDs I never knew I wanted but I’m glad I now have in my collection.

OK, there’s nothing particularly geeky about it, but since I delve into theater geekery now and then, the label sent me the CD because Liz Callaway is a Broadway type. And hers is my favorite rendition of the song “Meadowlark,” so I wasn’t complaining.

So now you get a review. It’s good to try things out of your comfort zone now and then.

And if you pick up “Boom,” you’ll be glad you did. The Callaway sisters do a fantastic job of freshening up ’60s and early ’70s pop standards, framed by some witty banter about growing up together with vastly different musical tastes.

Ann, the alto, could probably be a Cher impersonator if she wanted to be, and I kind of wish they’d thrown in “I Want You Babe” just to show that off, but you can’t really knock any of their selections, from a few Beatles numbers to a jammin’ reinvention of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” to a Stevie Wonder medley.

I was enjoying the CD as I was working on another project, but Ann’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” really caught my attention, and I listened even more closely thereafter.

And just as Ann and Liz’s voices are a great mash-up, so are the ideas for some of their songs, which include “Got to Get You Into My Life”/”Happy Together” and “I Know a Place”/”Downtown.”

They mix uptempo and ballads with ease, and even throw in a few laughs. A personal favorite is the “Back-Seat-of-the-Car Medley.” I won’t spoil what’s in it — it’s too much fun to just listen.

Not every song is perfect. “A Case of You” didn’t quite work for me. Same for the “Got to Get You Into My Life” half of that mash-up, but there are no real clunkers in the bunch. Some of the dialogue sounds a bit over-rehearsed, but if that’s the worst thing I can thing of to say, you’ve got a pretty sweet CD on your hands. GRADE: A-

Eric Henrickson is a Detroit News copy editor who has also been writing about comic books, video games and anime for The News for more than 10 years. His favorite bit of geek cred so far: appearing in an online "Star Trek" fan series.